Flower Glossaryflowers

Flower Glossary: Carnation

by Grace Bonney

designsponge carnation flower glossary
A few years ago, I underwent a major flower transformation. After disliking the majority of carnations because of their relatively small heads (in relation to their long spindly stems), I started seeing new varieties that blew me away with their vivid colors and made me an instant fan. From deep velvety purples to nearly neon pinks, carnations come in so many incredible colors that make those washed out whites and pinks you often see at corner stores look like a totally different type of plant. The variety we chose above, , looks stunning on its own in a vase, but would really knock some socks off in a huge grouping. That said, I’ve come around to the paler varieties of carnations as well and think those look pretty fantastic when grouped in large number, too. So whether you’re a long-time carnation fan or a recent convert like me, I hope this rundown of carnation information (ha!) will help you pick out a few for your next arrangement. xo, grace

Additional Information about the Carnation:

  • Full Name: Dianthus caryophyllus (Also known as “Clove Pink”)
  • Growing details: Carnations grow in bushes and prefer full sunlight. They can be grown year-round.
  • Varieties: There are countless varieties of carnations, but non-hybrids are known to have a distinctive clove scent. There are over 300 species and hundred more hybrid varieties. I prefer those with larger heads, like the ‘‘, ‘‘ and the multicolored’‘ (what a great name).
  • Size: Carnations have long stems that range from 16-26 inches and smaller blossoms that average 2 inches in diameter.
  • Cost: Carnations are relatively inexpensive, with stems running around $1-$2 a stem.
  • Fun facts: Carnations are the traditional flower of Mother’s Day. Although Anna Jarvis, who was the force behind the founding of the holiday, the floral industry commercialized the selling of carnations for Mother’s Day.

Photograph by Maxwell Tielman

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